Sound Off! Launching a New Generation of Performers

Review of Sound Off! at MoPOP.

Written by TeenTix Press Corps Newsroom Writer Serafina Miller, and edited by Teen Editor Huma Ali!

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Sound Off!, a music competition hosted by MoPOP, showcases the talent of local artists and bands under the age of 21. The event’s atmosphere is enhanced by being hosted in the Skychurch, where the high quality space and materials allow for professional performances by the contributors. This year’s music came from a wide range of genres and exemplified the unique influences of each performer and how they will come to change the music scene in the following years.

The Finals consisted of three bands and one individual artist who advanced from the semi-finals held earlier in February. Of the talent presented in the Finals, each had a distinctive style and sound that drew upon and combined various different genres. The musical ability of each group was atypical of what is expected in such young artists, and the fact that the entirety of the material performed was original, was even more astonishing.

Sound Off! Finals at MoPOP. Photo by Nate Watters.

Performers pulled from different eras of music to fuel their own personal creations, leading to the use of similar methods by participants. The results of which were not repeated, since each performer’s sound was different on a fundamental scale of melodic intricacies.

The advanced sound mixing and astounding visual aids given to the participants elevated the performances. The stage’s background consisted of a screen which displayed images and graphics probably selected by the talent, seeing how it matched the mood and feel of their music. Baja Boy, (one of the bands performing), used a palm tree pattern as a visual throughout their set as a reference to their name, while the group i///u used color blocking aesthetics during their performance.

Another benefit of the location was the impressive sound system, which helped balance the instruments and vocals spectacularly. However, the Skychurch had limited seating in places that felt disconnected and far away from the main stage. This isn’t a drawback in all respects. During the performances, the open floor magnified the crowd’s participation and reactions to the music, especially when artist Alex Cade actively engaged the crowd. Unfortunately, the transitions between sets was uncomfortably long, (possibly to give the judges time to deliberate on what they’d just seen). Consequently, the waiting and standing quickly became tiresome, and drained a portion of the crowd’s the energy.

Sound Off! Finals at MoPOP. Photo by Nate Watters.

The instruments ranged from classic rock band instruments, like drums and guitars, to more jazz-style instruments like saxophones, and also digital instruments that made electronically produced sounds. One group, called Huey and the InFLOWentials, combined rapping with jazz melodies and background tracks for a modern sound. The performers combination of various styles created a unique sound that made Sound Off! memorable. It was evident here that younger generations tend to go back and forth in their musical styles, and will bring about change to the music industry in coming years.

The confidence and liveliness of these young performers shows how they exhibit the talent and potential to be the next generation of performers and musicians. They created and performed new material out of a culmination of what has come before them, in order to kickstart a new era of music for a new era of listeners. The opportunity provided to these individuals by MoPOP was the perfect showcase letting these young individuals make their well-deserved entrance into the music industry.

*The band i///u was the winner of the 2019 Sound Off! competition.


The Teen Editorial Staff is made up of 5 teens who curate the review portion of the TeenTix blog and manage the TeenTix Newsroom. More information about the Teen Editorial Staff can be found HERE.

The TeenTix Press Corps promotes critical thinking, communication, and information literacy through criticism and journalism practice for teens. For more information about the Press Corps program see HERE.

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